Visiting some forests is the most difficult thing. Over a decade ago we rode through Ae forest and it was the first time I felt a genuine hatred from the trees towards humans. It’s not something I’d experienced before and it horrified me, that we’d farmed these beautiful beings to the point that they felt this way towards us.
Part of the promise I made to myself with this OUTSIDER blog was that I’d speak honestly about my experiences. Part of the promise I made to the trees was that I’d speak openly about my connection with them. Both of these things remain a work in progress because so much of the self needs to be understood and revealed in order to reach a place of absolute integrity.
There are two voices from a forest: the individual one of each tree that you can go and sit and communicate with; there’s also what I’d call the meta, or communal, voice. This is the collective thought of the forest as a whole and is what I’m referencing whenever I say ‘the trees said…’
So I will tell you that here at Kirroughtree the trees feels only a great and overwhelming indifference to us, and this is heartbreaking. Yesterday, riding our bikes through these rolling hills I saw so many stripes of trees growing in formation or bare brown Earth where they’re being ‘harvested’. And the trees don’t even hate us anymore, they’re just so blankly indifferent as they stand quietly mourning their kin.
And I realise it’s not enough for us to be saving the old trees (although this has to happen), or to be buying less stuff (although this also is deeply important), they don’t want our sorrow, or grief, we need to actively go into the forests and connect with them, talk to them, share stories and poems and songs out loud so that they can know us again, know that we love every single one of them, not just the 400yr old trees, but the scraggy-looking one clinging to a rocky outcrop, the ‘non-native ones’ (I hate that term), the babies, the stragglers, the needly underbrush, the ones marked for harvest, or squatting at the edges of lakes.
All of these living beings deserve so much more than our greedy indifference. Everything is deserving of love.